BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — COVID-19 halted all sports seasons around the country, including the Prospect League. On Wednesday, April 29, 2020 the league announced it would be moving the start of the season from May 28 to Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
This impacts the West Virginia Miners. Tim Epling, the General Manager of the West Virginia Miners said a schedule is in the works.
“We are ready to go July 1st. We have sponsorship, we have our season ticket holders, we have everything in place, we are just waiting for a schedule. We had to redo the schedule as a league,” Epling said.
The Prospect League typically plays 60 games in a season, but with having to condense the season, the league now has to rework the schedule and that comes with a lot of moving parts.
“We kind of figured out as a league about 42-46 games is what we do. We are dealing with colleges all across the country, we are dealing with major league baseball, we are dealing with scouts we are dealing with all these different people,” Epling said.
One big set back the Miners are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic is host family volunteers. It is something the team has to have in order to have a season and they currently do not have enough.
“We are taking all those safety precautions. They are going to be screened, make sure their temperature and all that other stuff. We are going to take all the precautions just like everybody else, but we do need host families. If we don’t have host families, we don’t have a team,” Epling said.
Many sports leagues are toying with the idea of having games in an empty stadium. This is something Epling said will absolutely not happen.
“Our kids need to play in front of people, I don’t even look at that. We need people in the stands. There is no use in us even playing if we can’t have fans in the stands,” Epling said.
At the end of the day, the safety of the fans and players is the most important thing. Epling said the league will continue to follow the guidelines set by the Governor and the President.